The National Council for Geography Education released Geography for Life – Second Edition. In a recent webinar, Susan Gallagher Heffron described the standards as promoting an emphasis on “doing Geography”.
The 8″ x 11.5″ wire-bound second edition is available for purchase at the NCGE website: http://ncge.org/geography-for-life for a modest price and portions of it are viewable online. The three-column publication, organized by grade band ( K-4, 5-8 and 9-12) includes knowledge statements and performance statements. Two of the original eighteen standards have been updated to reflect 21st century learning: Standard #1, regarding the use of maps and other geographic representations now includes geospatial technologies and spatial thinking. Standard #8 Ecosystems have been expanded to include biomes. Performance statements and illustrative examples were also updated.
Apparently, as the writing team looked at the scaffolding of geography skills across grade bands, their eyes were opened to gaps, which they were able to address. In addition to the expanded glossary there are examples of data sources as well as photos and images, all provided by educators. Classroom vignettes offer models of doing geography in the classroom. This emphasis on doing geography involves students looking at geography from a variety of perspectives, investigating the world around them and asking and answering geographic questions.
The original Five Themes of Geography are included within the 6 Essential Elements, which are more comprehensive and detail the way we get to the application of geography skills.
National Geographic’s supporting website: http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/?ar_a=1 will ultimately include the revised standards tabbed by grade level and it will be more interactive.